It does appear to be easier to chat on instant messenger. But, we also have the chat room. And while instant messenger is good at building one on one relationships, a community comes from the interplay between larger numbers of people. And that is “best” handled in a chat room if you want that immediate feedback.
So two ideas are:
1. As at Jediism, we have a thread where people offer their services as someone a person can contact over instant messenger.
2. Find a way to use the chat room more. That could include scheduling chats. Or, when you start chatting with more than one person on instant messenger, get everyone to move over to the chat room.